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One-Pot Spicy Thai Noodles

I came across an intriguing recipe the other day, and it looked about halfway unbelievable. I thought I might be able to improve it, and improve it I did. I changed it up from the original because A) doing so here would approximate plagiarism; B) I think my version came out way better than the original; and C) I’m not the biggest fan of zucchini in one-pot dishes–I find it to be mushy and I don’t think it adds significantly to the flavor layers in the dish. In most Asian cuisines there are layers of complex flavor and texture, and to me, zucchini doesn’t contribute enough to the dish to make it into the final product. I will, however, provide you with a link to the original at the end of the post.

The recipe as presented is vegetarian, but if you so desire, please try it with chicken, shrimp, pork, beef, or tofu for a jolt of protein and additional body. If you wish to add chicken, beef, or pork, cut into 1-2-inch strips and pound them flat (cut tofu into 1-inch cubes); marinate them 30-60 minutes in 2 Tbsp light soy sauce and 2 Tbsp rice vinegar; add them to the pot after the eggs are cooked; stir-fry them until just barely done; then set aside and continue on, and add them back just before adding the sauce. I am also presenting you options for oils, mushrooms, and leafy herbs based on your preferences. Any will work, in any combination–that’s the beauty of Thai cooking: options abound, while techniques remain the same.

This is a very tasty and simple-to-make one-pot noodle dish, and I highly recommend you try it when you need something quick, tasty, and different. 

Spicy Thai Noodles

Ingredients:

1 8-ounce package medium-width rice noodles 

2 Tbsp peanut, coconut, or vegetable oil, divided

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1 head bok choi, chopped, largest leaves chopped into strips

8 ounces mushroom (preferably shiitake, but white will do), chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tbsp brown sugar

1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce

2 tsp fish sauce (optional)

1.5 teaspoon Sriracha hot sauce (or more if you wish, up to 1.5 Tbsp–you know what you like)

2 inches fresh ginger, grated

1/4 cup fresh Thai basil (or sweet basil or cilantro–whichever you prefer), chopped

4 green onions, chopped

1/4 cup peanuts, chopped

Instructions:

1. In a large heavy pot, fill halfway with water, salt, and bring to a boil. Add the noodles and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl combine brown sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce if you are using it, sriracha, and ginger; whisk well to combine; set aside.

3. Return the pot to the stove, heat over medium heat, and add 1 Tbsp oil. Add beaten eggs and red pepper flakes and stir to scramble the eggs. Once cooked, set aside with pasta.

4. Return the pot to stove, heat remaining 1 TBS oil over medium heat. Add the bok choi, mushrooms, and garlic. Saute over medium high heat for 5-6 minutes or until veggies are cooked through but the white stalks are still crisp.

5. Turn heat down to low, add pasta and eggs back to pot, then pour the sauce mixture over the top. Using a wooden spoon, stir well to coat pasta and vegetables with sauce. Remove from heat, add peanuts, green onions, and basil or cilantro; stir to combine, then garnish with additional chopped peanuts and chopped green onions.

6. Serve immediately.

Notes: Serve warm or cold – it’s great both ways! If you choose shrimp as your protein, add that when there is about 2-3 minutes left with for the veggies to cook.

Also, if you wish to see the original recipe from which this is adapted, you can find it here:  http://pin.it/smcI5bM

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Vietnamese Shrimp Spring Rolls

Morgan and her mom made these incredible spring rolls the other night for company, and they were a huge hit.  I thought they were every bit as good as any I have had at a restaurant.  Fact is, this is a restaurant recipe, from la Patisserie in Birmingham, Alabama, where a large Vietnamese population has resettled after the floods in New Orleans.  There is a wonderful video that accompanies this recipe, for which I will post the link at the end of this recipe.  Try these.  You will need to find a good Asian market to get the rice wrappers, but if you haven’t found one already, you owe it to yourself to find one.  Now.  The one near us is wonderful, and always smells great.  Very nice people, too.

Shrimp Spring Rolls

Ingredients:

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup fish sauce
2 tablespoons white sugar

2 tablespoons lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 ounces rice vermicelli
24 baby shrimp, peeled and deveined
6 rice wrappers (8.5 inch diameter)
3 leaves lettuce, chopped
4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint leaves
4 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
4 teaspoons finely chopped Thai basil

Preparation:
  1. Whisk vinegar, fish sauce, sugar, lime juice, garlic, and red pepper flakes together in a small bowl. Set the dipping sauce aside.
  2. Fill a large bowl with room temperature water. Add rice vermicelli and soak for 1 hour.
  3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Drop in shrimp and cook until curled and pink, about 1 minute. Remove the shrimp and drain. Or you can buy precooked baby shrimp with the tails on.  Defrost and pinch off the tails.   Transfer rice vermicelli noodles to the pot of boiling water and cook for 1 minute. Remove and drain in a colander. Immediately rinse the vermicelli with cold water, stirring to separate the noodles.
  4. To assemble the rolls, dip 1 rice wrapper in a large bowl of room temperature water for a few seconds to soften. Place wrapper on a work surface and top with 4 shrimp halves, 1/4 of the chopped lettuce, 1/2 ounce vermicelli, and 1/4 each of the mint, cilantro, and Thai basil. Fold right and left edges of the wrapper over the ends of the filling and roll up the spring roll. Repeat with remaining wrappers and ingredients. Cut each roll in half and serve with dipping sauce.

Makes 6 spring rolls

Servings:  1 roll, 2 tablespoons dipping sauce

PP3

Vegetable Pad Thai — Weight-Watchers Style

Here is a vegetarian version of Pad Thai.  It is wonderful, slightly different, and tasty nonetheless.

Ingredients:

4 oz. flat rice noodles

2 teaspoons canola oil

1 red bell pepper, cut into strips

2 large carrots, cut into matchsticks

6 scallions, thinly sliced

2 Thai chili peppers or 2 teaspoons Asian red garlic-chili paste

2 cloves fresh garlic, minced fine

2 tablespoons fish sauce

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar, packed

1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce

1 cup fresh bean sprouts

1/2 container extra-firm tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped and divided

2 tablespoons unsalted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Preparation:

1.  Place noodles in a large bowl and cover with hot water; let stand until noodles are soft, about 20 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain again.

2.  Heat oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add bell pepper, carrots, scallions, chili peppers, and garlic, and stir fry until the vegetables are soft, about 3 minutes.  Add fish sauce, brown sugar, and soy sauce, stir fry until the sugar dissolves, about 30 seconds.  Add noodles, sprouts, half the cilantro, and tofu.  Toss gently to mix all the ingredients and coat everything with sauce and heated through, 2-3 minutes.  Remove from heat to a serving bowl and sprinkle with remaining cilantro and peanuts.

Serve either hot or at room temperature.

Serves 6

Serving:  1 cup

PP4

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